League of Ireland Premier Division
|Country||Ireland (11 teams)|
|Other club(s) from||Northern Ireland (1 team)|
|Number of teams||12 (from 2012)|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||League of Ireland First Division|
|Domestic cup(s)||FAI Cup
|League cup(s)||League of Ireland Cup|
|International cup(s)||UEFA Champions League
UEFA Europa League
|Current champions||Dundalk (11th title)
|Most championships||Shelbourne (6)|
|TV partners||RTÉ 2 & Eir Sport (live matches)
RTÉ 2 (highlights)
The League of Ireland Premier Division (Irish: Príomhroinn Sraith na hÉireann) is the top level division in the Republic of Ireland football league system. Contested by 12 clubs, it operates a system of promotion and relegation with the League of Ireland First Division. Seasons run from March to October, with teams playing 33 matches. Most games are played on Fridays, with a few games held on Saturdays and Sundays. Since 2010 the league is sponsored by SSE Airtricity and therefore officially known as the SSE Airtricity League.
The division was formed as the League of Ireland Premier Division in 1985 as a result of the decision to split the League of Ireland into two divisions, which also created the League of Ireland First Division. The league is ranked 36th in the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) coefficients of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the last five years, ahead of Lithuania's A Lyga and behind Moldova's National Division. In 2009, the FAI rejected proposals from clubs to remove the first division and restore the League of Ireland to its original structure.
There are 12 clubs in the Premier Division. During the course of a season (from March to October) each club plays the others three times, once or twice at their home stadium and once or twice at that of their opponents, for a total of 33 games. Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, then goal difference and then goals scored. At the end of each season, the club with the most points is crowned champion. If points are equal, the goal difference and then goals scored determine the winner. If still equal, teams are deemed to occupy the same position. If there is a tie for the championship, for relegation, or for qualification to other competitions, a play-off match at a neutral venue decides rank. The team that finishes last gets relegated to the First Division automatically and the second lowest placed teams participate in a two-legged play-off against the second placed team of the First Division with the loser being relegated to the First Division and the winner being promoted to the Premier Division.
The current League of Ireland trophy was unveiled on October 31, 2007 by the Football Association of Ireland. It stands at 91 cm (36 inches) tall with a circumference of 83 cm (33 inches). It is a Sterling Silver trophy consisting of silver and a mass of other metals including copper. The design of the trophy consists of a silver football at the top, which is encompassed by the cup itself. Drogheda United were the first team to receive the newly created trophy on November 2, 2007.
The Premier Division has been sponsored since the early 1990s. The sponsor has been able to determine the league's sponsorship name. There have been three sponsors since the league's formation.
- 1990's: Bord Gáis (Bord Gáis League Premier Division)
- 2000-2008: Eircom (Eircom League Premier Division)
- 2010–present: SSE Airtricity (Airtricity League Premier Division)
The league had no title sponsor in 2009, but had a number of secondary sponsors including Newstalk and Electronic Arts. As well as sponsorship for the league itself, the Premier Division has a number of official partners and suppliers. The official ball supplier for the league is Umbro. The official drink for the league is Lucozade. The official radio and newspaper partners are Newstalk and Irish Daily Star.
The television rights for the SSE Airtricity League are negotiated by the FAI with the individual broadcasters RTÉ and Eir Sport. Under the current deal RTÉ will show 78 league and FAI Cup games beginning in August 2014 up to November 2018. While Eir Sport will show 9 league games a year and the final of the League of Ireland Cup. RTÉ also produce a highlights show Soccer Republic airing every Monday throughout the league season at 11:05 
The FAI agreed a deal with TrackChamp in 2015 to show all Premier Division Fixtures from the 2016 Season onwards in all countries outside Ireland. The deal allows any person with an active bwin account to watch the matches on a live stream. The camera uses sensors to track the ball. The footage captured will also be offered to the clubs as means of reviewing the game.
The league’s current longest reigning manager is Liam Buckley, who has remained in his position at St Patrick's Athletic since December 2011. The most recent managerial appointment was Alan Mathews to Longford Town. 12 Irish managers have won the Premier Division, with the most recent being Stephen Kenny of Dundalk in 2014. 5 managers from outside the Republic of Ireland have won the Premier Division including 3 Northern Irish managers, Jim McLaughlin (Shamrock Rovers, Derry City and Shelbourne, 3 wins), Felix Healy (Derry City, 1 win), Michael O'Neill (Shamrock Rovers, 2 wins) and 2 English managers, Pat Dolan (Saint Patrick’s Athletic, 1 win) and Ian Baraclough (Sligo Rovers, 1 win). No manager from outside the British Isles has won the Premier Division. Currently all 12 of the managers are from Ireland.
The current managers in the Premier Division are:
|Liam Buckley||St Patrick's Athletic||
2 December 2011
22 November 2012
|John Caulfield||Cork City||5 November 2013|
|Tommy Dunne||Galway United||
26 November 2013
|Kenny Shiels||Derry City||
13 May 2014
|Pat Fenlon||Shamrock Rovers||
6 August 2014
21 July 2014
30 October 2014
|Johnny McDonnell||Drogheda United||
29 November 2014
|Trevor Croly||Bray Wanderers||
11 May 2015
|Dave Robertson||Sligo Rovers||
19 November 2015
|Alan Mathews||Longford Town||
22 August 2016
a: Relegated by the Independent Assessment Group due to financial problems
b: Both clubs were demoted due to financial problems
c: As per rules, Drogheda United were to be relegated. This did not occur due to the closure of Sporting Fingal
d: Withdrew during season, due to financial reasons
A. ^ The League of Ireland was founded in 1921. The league split into 2 divisions in 1985, creating the League of Ireland Premier Division and the League of Ireland First Division. However, the winners of the Premier Division, having finished at the top of League of Ireland football, are considered to be League of Ireland Champions.
- Daniel McDonnell (2009-12-03). "FAI reject change to league format". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
- McDonnell, Daniel (2010-01-21). "Bohs confident new boys will start season as they wait on FAI clearance". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
- "Bohs pencil in Athlone friendly". eleven-a-side.com. Retrieved 2010-01-31.